Photosynthesis is a biochemical process that plants, algae, and some bacteria use to create food and release oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere. We recently pointed out even some sea slugs can use photosynthesis. Complex photosynthesis and life defy accidental explanation.
Chlorophyll is the molecule that drives the process. There are two chemical reactions–one dependent on light and one independent of light. In the light-dependent reaction, sunlight enters the plant and energizes the chlorophyll. The chlorophyll splits water into hydrogen and oxygen and feeds electrons into nearby molecules. The oxygen escapes and the hydrogen is used later. The freed electrons make a molecule called ATP, which fuels cellular functions. With more sunlight, a molecule called NADP is produced.
In the light-independent reaction, NADP combines with the freed hydrogen to make a larger molecule called NADPH. These components, NADPH, ATP, and an enzyme called RuBisCCo, create sugars and other carbohydrates using carbon dioxide and water in a complex chemical process called the Calvin-Benson cycle.
Chlorophyll uses light in the blue and red part of the spectrum, reflecting green light, which is why trees and grass are green. Photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and forms the foundation of all food chains on Earth.
We have vastly oversimplified this explanation of complex photosynthesis and life. To believe that it could have happened by chance requires profound faith in luck. Photosynthesis reflects the wisdom of the Creator, who used some incredibly complex processes to establish life on this planet.
Atheists try to refute any notion of design in the natural world. They look for examples of what they call “bad design.” In a National Geographic documentary titled Inside Nature’s Giants, Richard Dawkins criticized the design of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in giraffes. He said, “No engineer would ever make a mistake like that.” The distance from the brain to the larynx is about two inches, but instead of going directly to the larynx, the nerve runs from the brain all the way down the giraffe’s neck and into its chest. There it makes a U-turn and runs back up the neck to connect to the larynx. In a mature giraffe, that distance can be more than 16 feet (4.9 m).
Dawkins calls it “a ridiculous detour.” Atheists refer to Jerry Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True, in which he calls this “one of nature’s worst designs.” The question is whether there is any reason for this design of the laryngeal nerve.
The laryngeal nerves activate muscles that make sounds and also aid the animal in breathing and swallowing. What atheists fail to mention is that two nerves connect the brain to the larynx. The primary nerve, called the superior laryngeal nerve, makes a direct connection from the brain to the larynx. The recurrent laryngeal nerve, which goes to the chest before returning to the larynx, also connects to the heart and has branches to the mucous membrane and muscular coat of the esophagus.
The design of the laryngeal nerve is not a ridiculous detour but an example of incredible technique, making efficient use of the nerves to allow the animal to have its long neck so it can reach food that other animals can’t. Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig of Germany’s Planck Institute says that the system’s design demands that “the recurrent laryngeal nerve needs to be, indeed, very long.”
The lack of integrity in the best-known atheists of our day is as distressing as the hypocrisy of some TV preachers. Dawkins’ videos are popular on YouTube, even though it is hard to believe an expert in biology would not be aware of the complexity of the giraffe’s nervous and vascular system. When assuming there must be bad design, a scientist must resort to explanations that don’t match the facts. The design of the laryngeal nerve shows the wisdom that God has demonstrated in every corner of creation.
An interesting battle is going on in the Indiana state legislature, which could affect the rest of the country. Senate Bill 263 would make it illegal to restrict the right to worship even during pandemics or natural disasters. The statement made by those promoting the bill is, “The right to worship is guaranteed by the United States and Indiana constitutions, and no one has the right to infringe on that right.”
This is a complex issue. Telling people they can’t assemble because they might get sick or make someone else ill puts the government in the position of deciding who can worship and who cannot. Which is more important, having the right to worship anywhere, anytime, and in any way you wish or having authorities decide when and where to allow worship? The potential for abuse is very high either way.
We suggest that carefully following the biblical teachings and examples would solve this issue. The first-century Church did not own buildings and worshipped in small groups in private homes. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The need for large groups with elaborate services and many participants is a product of church entertainment, not the worship of God.
No one can take away our right to worship if our worship is doing what the Bible encourages us to do and following the example of the first century Church. There are interesting legal questions in this discussion, but the right to worship is not threatened no matter what the legislature decides.
I never cease to be amazed at how willing people are to inflict hardship, pain, and death on their fellow human beings. Recently, COVID frauds and scams have increased dramatically. Jim Bakker, who has a long history of bringing discredit to Christianity, was selling “colloidal silver dietary supplements” as a cure for the coronavirus “within 12 hours.” Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO, was promoting oleandrin as a therapeutic for COVID-19, even though the FDA says there is no data to support that claim.
Frequently medical “experts” back cures for COVID. Just because someone holds a medical degree or has recognition as a medical expert does not mean they won’t promote something that doesn’t work. A current example is Dr. Joseph Mercola, who claims that vitamin C, vitamin D, and quercetin help cure COVID. He also suggested that intentionally exposing yourself to the virus after consuming his supposed immunity-boosting supplement is the best protection against COVID-19. Mercola is also a major supporter of the anti-vaccine movement and has promoted vaccine-related conspiracy theories.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have condemned and contradicted these COVID frauds and scams, but anti-science mindsets find a receptive audience. Science and faith are friends, not enemies. In 1 Timothy 6:20, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Guard the truths committed to your trust and turn a deaf ear to claimed knowledge and empty worldly chatter and to the objections of pseudo-science which have caused some to go astray from the faith.”
Sadly, religious figures sometimes join in with medical scammers to cause hurt to their constituents. If we stick to God’s Word and continue to look at the evidence, we can avoid getting sick while preventing vulnerable people from being deceived. Jesus taught that we could identify those who are telling the truth by the fruit of what they do and teach. The evidence is that vaccines can help us stay well, and the claims of alternative cures can harm us.
There is an old joke about a man who wanted to take his valuables to heaven with him. He bound them carefully in a package and told his wife he was placing them in the attic right above his bed. He planned to die in bed, and as his spirit soared upward, he was going to pick up the package and take it to heaven with him. The old man did die in bed as he had planned. Sometime later, his wife remembered that he had this plan to pick up his valuables, so she went upstairs into the attic to see if he had been successful. The package was still there right where he had put it. Confronted with this, his oldest son remarked, “Well what he should have done was to place it in the cellar.” Good joke with a bad message.
This is a bad message because it conveys a wrong idea about life after this life. The Bible talks about streets of gold and gates of pearls to get us to understand that being with God brings beauty and rewards beyond what any of us can imagine. It does not mean that we will be in a physical city with real gold used to build its streets. Quite frankly, that would be interesting for just a few hours at the most. Heaven is a timeless existence free of all of the pain and problems of this life. Our feeble minds can’t comprehend the beauty and the joy of heaven.
As I get older, I’m looking forward to not having any more tears, any more death of those I care about, any more sorrow, or any more pain. The promise of Revelation 21:4 means more and more as I experience bad things here on Earth. It’s a good joke with a bad message because it has a wrong understanding of heaven. We need to be reminded that not only is heaven better than anything we can imagine, but hell not a dark place with flaming sulfur (brimstone). Hell is separation from God and all the spiritual blessings of God. However, the fundamental point of the joke remains: “You can’t take it with you.”
Some people want to believe that everything we see and experience is the product of space aliens, and sometimes this belief ends up in tragedy. In March of 1997, a man named Marshall Applewhite convinced 39 people that a spaceship was following the Hale Bopp comet. He persuaded them to leave their physical bodies to join the aliens on the spacecraft. Despite tragic events like that, many people are investigating similar claims of aliens such as ‘Oumuamua.
In October of 2017, astronomers at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii observed a strange space object. They named it ‘Oumuamua, which is Hawaiian for “scout” or “messenger” because it apparently came from outside the solar system. Some thought it was an alien spaceship sent to investigate planet Earth. The object was traveling at 196,000 mph (315,000 kph) as it zipped through the solar system.
As astronomers continue to track ‘Oumuamua, they have found that it is accelerating as it heads out of the solar system. That fact has fueled more attention by those who believe it is not a natural object. It could be a comet, but astronomers have not observed a tail, which comets have. An asteroid is another possibility, but the trajectory does not show any connection to the Sun’s gravity as an asteroid would have. Why the object is accelerating is also not likely to match any asteroid or cometary explanation.
First, we want to remind you that life in space is not an apologetic or biblical issue. Years ago, I did a radio debate moderated by Larry King in Washington D.C. Someone asked my atheist opponent what he would do if a spaceship landed on the Whitehouse lawn and an alien got out with a Bible in his hand and said, “Has Jesus been here yet?” That would raise all kinds of other questions, but it does make the point that the Bible doesn’t tell us that Earth is the only place in the cosmos where life exists.
The current thinking about ‘Oumuamua is that it is a pancake-shaped piece broken off from a planet outside of our solar system. It has been speeding up because the Sun’s heat vaporized some solids, providing the acceleration force. There is no indication that alien intelligence is guiding ‘Oumuamua or that its composition indicates an unnatural origin.
If we would spend the same amount of time and energy encouraging people to get along with each other that we spend trying to get alien help to solve our problems, we might actually accomplish something. Jesus told us that He came so we could have “life and… have it more abundantly.” Following God’s Word instead of celestial objects like ‘Oumuamua can accomplish that.
People worldwide need water for drinking, growing crops, bathing, and even for transportation. The problem is not so much the lack of precipitation as it is distribution. In the western United States, a massive amount of water accumulates as snow on the mountains during the winter season. This snow melts, and the water runs off in spring and summer. Some it soaks into the ground and creates a wealth of aquifers that carry the water underground for many miles. Humans have tapped this water with wells lowering the water table, causing a scarcity of natural springs and water available near the surface. That causes vegetation to dry up and die, making wildfires a major issue. There are natural solutions for wildfires and drought.
Wildfires that have occurred in the western United States in the past two years were relatively rare in the past. As water tables continue to drop, we can expect to see more fires, water shortages, and more demand for this vital resource. Private landowners have found a partial solution by building small rock dams that slow runoff and allow more water to soak into the ground raising the water table. In the Gunnison, Colorado area, landowners have constructed some 2,000 of those dams known as zuni bowls. The result is that places that were formerly brown through much of the summer and fall are becoming green.
Others seeking natural solutions for wildfires and drought reintroduce beavers into areas where there are streams and rivers they can dam and make ponds. In the past, people have trapped and removed beavers to allow land development projects. Today, people are even planting trees for beavers to use for dam building. When beaver dams create ponds and raise the water table, they create a whole new ecosystem restoring birds and other water animals while reducing the threat of wildfires. In July of 2018, the Sharps fire scorched the Baugh Creek region near Hailey, Idaho. The fire reduced everything to charcoal except the vegetation along beaver-built ponds, which remained green oases.
God created the Earth with natural solutions for wildfires and drought. Human activity often upsets that balance, but we are learning how to restore God’s water solutions. Beavers are among the resources God created to do the job. We just need to know how to use the tools God gave us.
One of the most challenging decisions for a woman to make is what to do with an unwanted pregnancy. The difficulty of this decision is evident from the “no show rate” for abortion appointments, which can be as high as 75%. Tragically, the abortion industry has become taxpayer-supported.
Planned Parenthood has released numbers in a report for the years 2017-2018. That organization operated 590 locations and performed 332,757 abortions. Their total income for the year was 1.67 billion dollars, of which $563.8 million was in tax money. Because it is a business, Planned Parenthood has to produce an increasing number of abortions or run out of money and have to close. Since 1995, 37% of Planned Parenthood locations have closed, and many of them closed for financial reasons.
By their own data, 96% of “pregnancy resolution services” are completed with abortions without regard for the mental and emotional issues of the women involved. They report only one adoption referral for every 117 abortions. Those numbers tell us that Planned Parenthood is not a service-oriented organization but an industry that must create a market to secure income. We have reported on data about abortion clinics selling baby parts as a source of income for this industry.
The abortion industry has been involved in lobbying politicians to approve their activities and fund them. We now have a president and vice president who approve of abortion and funding organizations like Planned Parenthood. Because of the sensitivity of this issue, it is difficult to get politicians to deal with the facts. The reality is that our political system is now endorsing infanticide. Attempts to defend abortion by claiming the fetus is an extension of the mother’s body do not have scientific support. Morning sickness is because the woman’s body recognizes that the baby is not a part of her body, and her immune system reacts to it. Genetically, the baby is 100% human when the sperm fertilizes the egg.
Educating the public about the facts of the abortion industry and providing alternatives to abortion remains the best that we can do. Our society has now endorsed infanticide, and involuntary euthanasia is the next step in getting rid of inconvenient humans. Scholars like Peter Singer, the Ira W, DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, call for euthanizing the physically disabled and mentally ill. The question is whether this is the kind of world we want to live in and leave to our children?
What makes you special? As we look at the many creatures that inhabit planet Earth, we see that humans are unique.
Unlike most animals, we walk on two legs. Even primates that can stand upright spend much of their time on all-fours. Standing upright frees our hands for making and using tools. It also allows us to use our hands for creating art and writing stories and books. Most animals are covered with a thick layer of hair to protect them from the harsh environment. We protect ourselves by clothing that we design using our creativity and that we make using our hands.
Our opposable thumbs allow us to do things that no animal can. Most apes and monkeys have opposable thumbs, but only humans can bring their thumbs in opposition to any of our four fingers. That is unique, but it’s not what makes you special.
Humans can speak and write. The design and position of our larynx, tongue, and mouth make it physically possible to create sounds that form words. Beyond our physical traits, the ability to understand symbolism is essential for advanced communication. You can understand the meaning of words, even the meaning of the words formed by the letters you are reading. But still, there is more to what makes you special.
Human children are dependent on their parents for a much longer time than any animal, and our family relationships are important throughout life. We are capable of an “agape” type of love that emphasizes others’ needs rather than ourselves. We learn to love in our families as our parents model a godly love for us.
Our brain is unique, not because of its size but because of what it can do. There are animals with larger brains. The sperm whale has the largest. When you compare brain weight to body size, many birds have brains that make up 8 percent of their body weight. The human brain is only about 2.5 percent of our body weight, but it far exceeds any animal’s brain in intelligence.
The most remarkable difference–and the biggest mystery to science–is what is often referred to as “mind.” How can mere atoms and molecules form cells and neural connections to create the human sense of advanced self-consciousness and purpose? We believe this most unique feature of humans is more than the physical action of neurons. We prefer to call it our soul, that brings us closer to what makes you special.
We have to look beyond the physical realm to understand what makes humans special. Our creativity, our search for beauty, our desire for loving relationships, our seeking after justice, and our desire to worship all indicate that we know there is something beyond what this world offers. We believe those desires are in your soul because God created you in His image and designed you to have a relationship with Him. That is truly what makes you special.
In 1999, the Gallup Poll said that 70% of all Americans belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque. In March of 2021, that number has dropped to 47%. That doesn’t mean 53% of all Americans are atheists, but it does indicate a failure of organized religion in 21st century America.
When you look at the climbing suicide rate, the increase in the use of drugs, including alcohol and marijuana, and the increasing violence in America, it is obvious that our secular culture is falling apart. Add to that the fact that the media, politicians, and academic communities have been caught in lie after lie, and the picture looks bleak.
The bright side is that people are becoming more open to change.This ministry has been in existence since 1968, with the message that science and faith are compatible and that massive evidence shows that God is real and the Bible is His word for humanity. Interest in that message has grown astronomically. Organized religion has maintained the status quo, and hypocrisy has been rampant in religious and political leaders. Meanwhile, young people have shown a growing desire to integrate belief in God with making human behavior changes.
Organized religion in 21st Century America shows the decline of mainline churches that focus on the political issues of the day. Basic Bible groups have experienced growth when they advocate breaking with tradition and listening only to what the Bible actually says. We encourage our readers to look at the evidence for God and the Bible. As young people act on the evidence, they will make positive changes in the direction of humanity.